It was for the birds.

In an effort to relocate a juvenile osprey pair, officials at Huntington Lighthouse last year created a raised platform in the granite rock on the northeast side of the building. But while the idea proved successful then, they weren't sure the couple would return to the nest for a second breeding season.

“We were nervous all winter long. This is a pretty barren location, it’s out in the middle of Huntington Bay,” said Pamela Setchell, Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society president.

When officials discovered that the couple had returned, she said, "We were tickled to death."

Last season, the likely first-time parents did not appear to have a viable hatchling, lighthouse officials said.

But to their delight, lighthouse officials found on Tuesday that there are two eggs in the nest.

'Aha' moment

Last spring, the osprey couple built a nest on a low-lying pier leading up to the lighthouse, blocking access. When the state Department of Environmental Conservation took a look, they told lighthouse officials the nest had to be moved.

“We were kind of at wits' end and at about 2:30 in the morning I couldn’t sleep, I was racking my brains and I thought, ‘Aha, we’re going to put it on the granite rocks out in front of the lighthouse as far away from the building as possible,’ ” Setchell said.

She enlisted the help of two marine contractors who have worked on the lighthouse over the years: Paul Kaiser, of Huntington Station-based Kaiser Marine Services, and Frank Scobbo of Port Washington-based Scobbo Marine Contractors. Scobbo pre-constructed the platform and, with Kaiser’s help, installed it mostly in the early morning hours of dawn during peak high tide over a three-day period. The DEC moved the nest and the birds took occupancy almost immediately.

“We are honored to have been part of the process,” Scobbo said. “We’re happy the no vacancy sign has been posted again.”

Setchell says the osprey and their high-perched nest are now part of the lighthouse legacy, as she has incorporated them into its logo and emblazoned them on merchandise that will be rolling out within weeks. They will also be a point of pride and a highlight to visitors who come to the lighthouse on scheduled tours.

“This will be the first season that we will have to peacefully coexist,” Setchell said. “I’m sure that that can be done without a problem.”

Ospreys mate for life, going their separate ways when migrating south for the winter but reuniting in the spring and summer and returning to the same nest.

DEC wildlife biologist Chip Hamilton said the group effort to accommodate the birds is a testament to what people can do when they work together.

“When you can get collective groups together to do something like this for the better of the environment or for the species it’s always good,” he said. “Hopefully they’ll be successful this year in fledging chicks.”

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